HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Under-16 sevens rugby team emerged triumphant from the Middlesburg Sevens in South Africa at the weekend as the country took its first step to groom the youth side for the 2014 Youth Olympics and the 2016 Olympics qualifiers.
The schools side showed great pace and skills to win the Under-16 category of the two-day event.
Team manager Victor Pekani attributed his sides’ success in Middlesburg to determination and discipline.
The Kudzaishe Munangi-captained outfit emerged unscathed in the five games they played.
They dismissed Volkstrust 28-22 in their opening match and then Hertzog 34-12 in the second.
They went on to beat Ermelo 43-0 before dispatching HTS Witbank 21-0 in the semifinals.
In the final, coach Tafadzwa Mhende’s teenagers beat Middies 24-14 to round off an encouraging campaign.
“When we arrived in South Africa no one gave us a chance,” Pekani said.
“They said our players were small and deserved to be Under-13 but the boys did not let that get to their heads. It actually spurred them on and gave them confidence.”
On the other hand, Zimbabwe Under-19s beat St Stithians 40-24 to win the Bowl final.
Meanwhile, the Cheetahs, the country’s senior sevens side, lost to Wales 33-7 in the main tournament’s Cup semifinal.
The Cheetahs were using the tournament to fine-tune for this weekend’s 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Morocco.
The Zimbabwe women rugby sevens side, affectionately known as the Pangolins, lost to Free State 14-7 in the final.